Make Believe

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It’s here…it’s finally here! The boys have been going on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now and counting down the days. Soon their coffers will be filled with CANDY!

This year, Adam was a S.W.A.T. officer, and Alex was the Red Power Ranger. Long gone are the days they would dress in similar costumes, as each year they become more and more diverse in their interests. But hey, they’re both crime fighters this year, right?

SWAT and Power Ranger

This year Charlie even got into the act, as a Rocker with his jean jacket and guitar…

Charlie Rocker

Meanwhile, in Alabama, grandkids Oliver and Carter John look AWESOME as Woody and Buzz…

Woody and Buzz

and Kameran was Barb from Stranger Things. I think she did a great job!

Kam and Barb

As expected, the boys cleaned-up on Candy…enough to last them into December. And Charlie absolutely loved the walk (and the attention).

Happy Halloween

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The Future is Now at Epcot’s Test Track, where the boys’ got to design their own car and test it’s performance…

Alex designs his car

This ride normally has wait times of 90- to 120-minutes. We had a Fast Pass, so the wait wasn’t no where near that long. Although the car design part was pretty cool, I think the ride was more hype than substance. Still, it’s worth the wait with a Fast Pass.

I think the best ride at Epcot is Soarin’ which is a flight motion simulator that takes you around the world within a 180° OMNIMAX laser projection screen. Anyway, Alex didn’t want to ride this one, so it was just me and Adam…

Soarin

And look who Cindy and Alex ran into while Adam and I were flying around the world…

Mom, Alex, and Tink

While visiting the aquarium, we run into Nemo’s pal, Bruce…

“Fish are friends, not food, but little boys are food. Definitely, food.”

Bruce and the boys

…and his buddy, Chum…

“A clownfish, really? Tell us a joke!”

Dad and Chum

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The school year is over for the boys and to kick-off the summer, we heading down to Disney Hollywood Studios–which happens to be my favorite of the Disney theme parks!

DHS Entrance

So much to do! First things first: The Rockin’ Rollercoaster…

Rockin Rollercoaster Entrance

LOVE THIS RIDE!

Rockin Rollercoaster

What else? There are 3D specs and Jawas…

3D Specs Jawa Boys

and a couple Storm Troopers harass an old lady on her scooter…

Stormtrooper

which turned-out to be a prelude to a little storm trooper recruiting by Captain Phasma of the First Order…

Anyway, it wasn’t all about Star Wars. There was “Pigs in Space”…

Pigs in Space

and the live Frozen show, which was absolutely hilarious!!

Frozen

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Today the boy’s classes took a field trip to Fort Menendez in St Augustine. This interactive museum is great for young kids. They learn about the Timucua Indians and early colonial life in Spanish East Florida through hands-on activities that give them a feel for the pioneer life.

Alex’s teacher, Ms Stanton, got into the act…dressed as a Timucua Indian, she helped teach the kids about the various tools used by the pre-European residents of the area…

Educating the crowd

And for some reason, Alex wasn’t very happy about something…

Not too happy

Until he got to play a game…which looks a lot like the football drills today’s pro quarterbacks participate in!

Football drill Football drill Football drill

Adam, on the other hand, and true to form, took advantage of the face painting with his friend, Adalyn…

Face Paint Face Paint

Alex, also true to form, just stuck to the games…

Alexs Game Alexs Game

Mom? Well, she just took the pictures. Naturally. 🙂

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This year, the boys are going through a Ninja phase. You have to look real close, though, because, you know, they’re Ninjas…

Ninjas Ninjas

Mom took the boys trick-or-treating, while I stayed behind to give out candy and enjoy some of Cindy’s yummy guacamole…

Guacamole

Meanwhile, a couple of states away, Grandsons Mario and Luigi (a.k.a. Oliver and Carter), prepare to battle their arch enemy, Bowser, while Granddaughter Kameran is the most adorable Cheshire Cat…

Mario and Luigi Cheshire Cat

Needless to say, the boys cleaned-up on candy, and if they had their way, they’d eat it all tonight (and Adam was doing his best to negotiate that possibility)

Oh, and before I forget, here’s a picture of Cindy’s jack-o-lanterns. I cleaned-out the guts, and mom and the boys added the faces. Although I;m a little biased, I think they did a very nice job!

Jack-o-Lanterns

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It’s the last day of our Disney Weekend, and what better place to be than Hollywood Studios?

Disney Hollywood Studios

Naturally, we have a Fast-Pass to Star Tours, which is the number one ride for a couple of Star Wars geeks like Alex and Adam…

Star Tours

After the boys build a light saber in the Star Wars store, we still have about an hour before our Fast-Pass to the Rock-n-Roller Coaster, so we jump in line for one of my favorite rides: The Great Movie Ride…

The Great Movie Ride

This ride is sponsored by Turner Classic Movies, which happens to be my favorite cable channel. And movie host, Robert Osborne, introduces the crowd to a ride through some of Hollywood’s classic movies, like Casablanca…

Casablanca

There was enough action to keep the boys attention (although Adam commented that it moved too slowly), and plenty of nostalgia for me! And with that, we’re ready for Aerosmith and the Rock-n-Roller Coaster! Upon entering, we’re greeted by Steve, Joe and the rest of the band…

Aerosmith

This is a great roller caoster…and F-A-S-T! It goes from 0 to 60 in about 2-1/2-seconds as it thrusts you through a series of “loop-the-loops” (as Adam likes to call them) and corkscrews…and all the while you’re listening to Aerosmith: “Love in an Elevator,” “Walk this Way,” and “Lick and a Promise”. After we finished, we saw that it was raining outside, so decided to get back in line and ride AGAIN! AWESOME!

RocknRoller Coaster

Next, we grab a bite to eat, and head over to the “Lights, Motor, Action! Extreme Stunt Show”. Lots of tires screeching, fire, and car jumps to keep you riveted to the set. It’s a great glimpse into how movie studios film all those fancy car chase scenes! And who doesn’t liked the smell of burnt rubber?

We decided to wrap-up the day with the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, but was distracted by the face painting…

Alex wanted to be a Tribal Warrior…

Alex Face Paint Alex Face Paint

Adam, chose a Lion Prince…

Adam Face Paint Adam Face Paint

By the time we finished with the face painting, the Indiana Jones show was about half over, so we decided to call it a day. We made our way to the park entrance and picked-up the packages we had transferred there earlier, climbed aboard the tram and made our way back to the car. It’s been a whirlwind few days, and I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, so I can relax a bit! 😉

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{{ YAWN }} We’re up early and heading to Epcot…

Epcot Entrance

Our first stop? A Fast-Pass to “Mission Space”…

Mission Space

Where we board a simulator for an exciting mission to Mars. Adam, of course, loves the adventure, and naturally, assumes the Pilot’s role; Alex, on the other hand, is a bit cautious and after a bit of prodding, take his seat in the Captain’s chair…

Mission Space Mission Space

In the end, though, Alex came through and with his leadership, our mission was successful. He’s thrilled (it’s over) 😉

Alex and Dad

The park was not very crowded today, which made it much easier to get through the lines at Spaceship Earth, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and The Circle of Life. The only ride we missed was Fast Track, which stayed at 60-90 minutes for Stand-by throughout the day (we’ll Fast-Pass this one next time).

The highlight of our Epcot adventure was Soarin’…a simulated hang-gliding ride over California landmarks. It’s really pretty cool, and feels so real that Alex was picking his feat up as we flew over the tops of trees. Basically, you buckle yourself in and your seat is lifted to the center of this OMNIMAX screen, an inverted dome-shaped screen that provides a sense of depth to the ride…

Soarin' Soarin'

Finally, we closed-out our day at Epcot with a visit to Mickey and his friends…

Mickey Goofy Minnie

Anyway, the day was still young, so we climbed aboard the Monorail and headed-over to The Magic Kingdom to ride Big Thunder Mountain, which closed just before we got on yesterday…

Alex and Mom and Big Thunder Mountain

and Alex insisted he take Adam to Tom Sawyer’s Island…

The boys on Tom Sawyer's Island

and with that, it was back to the Monorail for a return ride to Epcot where we picked-up our car and took-off for a nice dinner in town.

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First stop: The Magic Kingdom. We’re up early today to get a head-start on the crowd.

WDW Entrance

I’ve reserved a Fast Pass for Space Mountain at 9:00 a.m. and Adam is in a hurry to get started on his roller coaster weekend! Naturally, mom is in picture-taking mode as we board the tram for the park…

WDW Tram

Alex opted not to go on Space Mountain, so mom took him on what seems to be his favorite ride at Disney: The PeopleMover, which actually goes into Space Mountain.

Space Mountain

If Alex’s favorite ride is the PeopleMover, then his second favorite ride is The Grand Prix Raceway! Of course, Adam really likes it, too…

Adam Drives Alex Drives
Alex and Mom Drive Alex and Mom exit

After the race, we made our way toward Adventureland. We stopped by The Haunted Mansion, which mom and Adam went on alone, while I and a spooked Alex hung-out at the exit waiting for them to finish. Thankfully, Alex was able to summon his courage for The Pirates of the Caribbean!

Pirates of the Caribbean

The boys always get a kick out of locating Captain Jack Sparrow in various locations throughout the course of the ride…

Captain Jack Sparrow

Then the Magic Carpet…

Magic Carpet

And the Tea Cups…

Tea Cups

Later, we make our way to Frontierland to Fast-Pass Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, one of the two roller coasters at WDW that Alex likes to ride. However, just before we were to get on the ride, they closed it due to some malfunction. They gave us a pass good until the end of October that could be used on any number of rides, but we’ll likely try to swing back by the park tomorrow after Epcot.

Fortunately, the line at Splash Mountain wasn’t that long, so Mom took Adam, while Alex, who abdicated his seat on the log-ride, and I caught the raft to Tom Sawyer’s Island. This is actually one of my favorite places at Disney because there’s so much to see and it’s typically pretty quiet. Alex ran wild among the tree houses, pontoon bridges, Harper’s Mill, Injun Joes Caves, and Fort Langhorn (formerly Fort Sam Clemens) where he discovered the air rifles in the towers…

Alex on the Raft Alex Shoots

Whew! What a busy day! Now, it’s time to head back to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s sleep. After all, tomorrow will be another busy day!

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Tonight me and the boys are playing around with the new Star Wars app on my iPhone…

“I sense a disturbance in the Force. Of course, I heard the heavy breathing and ominous music well before that.”

Jody Wan Kenobi

“Okay, okay, I got it! Try-do-not-try-just-do-it. How ’bout you try to stick it in your pointy ear!”

Adam Wan Kenobi

“Okay, Boba Fett is a bad guy, but I really like Boba Fett. So, do I kill him or ask for his autograph?”

Alex Wan Kenobi

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It’s DAY TWO of our Star Wars Weekend and at the top of the agenda is Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. This is the last in our year-long pursuit to ride all of the Disney roller coasters. This one was BY FAR my and Adam’s favorite…mom and Alex, not so much.

Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith

I mean, not only did we get to listen to Aerosmith, THIS THING WAS FAST!! Oh, and as Adam wouldn’t stop talking about, it had a loop-the-loop.

Riding the Rock n Roller Coaster

After we recovered from the roller coaster, we took a break and had some pictures taken…

Our Family

and with a little Disney magic, the boys are fighting Darth Vader!

Adam fights Darth Vader

Adam fights Darth Vader

While we were walking back to the Star Wars side of the park again, we witnessed Boba Fett, as her prepared to blast-off to Tatooine with Han Solo encased in carbonite.

Boba Fett

I couldn’t resist getting a picture of the boys loitering outside a shop on Tatooine. Evidently, Alex is using the Force to push-off some stormtroopers.

Tatooine Boys

Of course, the Empire was EVERYWHERE and questioning EVERYBODY! The boys couldn’t avoid being stopped and questioned…these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Empire Questions

Finally as the day was coming to a close, we had dinner with Disney Star Wars characters at Hollywood and Vine. The food is good, but the company is GREAT!

Of course, Jedi Mickey greets the boys at the door!

The boys with Jedi Mickey

And Chip-and-Dale Ewoks, Donald the Stormtrooper, and Princess Minnie visit at the table.

The boys with Chip the Ewok The boys with Donald the Stormtrooper The boys with Princess Minnie

and last-but-not-least, was Darth Goofy, who was a blast!

The boys with Darth Goofy

This experience was the icing on the cake of a great weekend getaway! One our way to the car, we turn for a final look at the sun setting behind the Tower of Terror (which, by the way, I have absolutely no intention of riding!)

The sun sets behind the Tower of Terror

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading back home, but tonight the boys can relive their Disney Weekend Adventure in their dreams…

The boys are fast asleep

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